The Oakland Raiders understood that their AFC Wild Card encounter with the Houston Texas would be without their full squad, as their franchise quarterback Derek Carr is not suiting up. With rookie quarterback Connor Cook making his first career start, his chances for success were already low.
However, Friday brought forth some major news regarding the offensive line that has carried the Raiders this season. The offensive line of the Raiders has resided as one of, if not the, best offensive lines in the NFL, led by Pro Bowlers Kelechi Osemele, Donald Penn and Rodney Hudson.
Those three have been pillars for the offensive line, giving the quarterback a certain sense of safety while continually creating holes for the running game. In a playoff atmosphere, the protection schemes only become that much more important.
The Raiders were hit with difficult news on Friday, is it appears one of the Pro Bowl lineman will not suit up, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Raiders have ruled out starting LT Donald Penn from Saturday game due to knee injury. Backup LT, backup QB vs Texans.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2017
Penn has been through an emotional roller coaster these past few weeks, giving himself blame for the injury that cost Carr his season. After that game, Penn was emotionally distraught and didn’t resemble himself when dealing with the media.
Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game actually marks the first game Penn has missed in his career, coming in at an awful time. Del Rio will certainly have to adjust his scheme, as he attempts to protect his rookie quarterback.
Penn was recently awarded the Craig Long award, which is given annually to a Raiders’ player that interacts in a professional way with the media.
After Penn was officially ruled out, he took to Twitter to express his discomfort with the decision and the injury:
I did everything I could 2 play tomorrow I mean everything in tears right now haven't missed a game my entire career lost 4 words😡😡😡😤😤😤
— Donald Penn (@DPENN70) January 6, 2017
However, Penn or the organization didn’t make any comments regarding his status if the Raiders are able to defeat the Texans on Saturday.